Things that work for me: (I only have the one - granted - but I work full time and lead a very busy life, and am single...it's a legitimate struggle but we're doing really well. Time management and organisational skills are absolutely essential, otherwise I'd fall in a heap).
I think the key is finding what works best for you, to achieve that work/life balance. Some of my tips aren't practical for some people, for example.
1) Find any concievable corner or short cut, and find a way to cut it. Get creative - it's amazing how the little things add up when you're time-poor.
2) Purchase a few additional lunch boxes, and prep lunches a few days in advance. That way, I'm not scambling together school lunches in the morning - I just grab a ready made box a few times per week.
3) Purchase enough school uniforms to last the week. Took advantage of Kmart's $5 skorts, and bought enough for the week. Best investment ever. No more mid-week washing.
4) Work outfit and school uniforms are laid out the night prior, ready for the morning. Best organisational tip ever!
5) Get cracking with a sticker chart for organisational tasks. Packing own school bag; setting table; watering garden in the morning; getting undressed after school and putting everything away ect. Any task that is done automatically and autonomously, earns a sticker. Honestly, one week of this and DD had begun packing my work bag for work!
6) Housework is done early Friday mornings. It's the last thing I feel like doing before work, but it means my weekends are relaxation zones - not chasing my tail catching up on housework. The feeling of waking up on a weekend, to an already clean and organised house...is great.
7) Same with washing. Never done on a weekend. Always Thursday nights, dried on the line Friday, folded and out of sight over the weekend.
8) Meal plan, meal plan... meal plan.
9) Prior to each new school term, I go on a baking/cooking and freezing frenzy. Each new school term, my freezer is fully stocked with ready to go goodies and meals/pasta sauces ect.
10) Take away once a week or fortnight. Nothing expensive, just something convenient.
11) 1 x weekly activity in addition to swimming (which is non-negotiable). Any more than that is a logistical head ache.
12) Homework is usually done at the table while I'm preparing dinner. Even if it's Mathletics on a my lap top - it's done in the kitchen. That way I'm available to help (and motivate).
13) Prioritise one day of the weekend as 'schedule free'. Anything goes. Without this, I never feel as though I've had a break. DD also appreciates this. Sometimes we wake up on a Sunday and do - well - nothing for half the day.
I've also discovered the power of negotiation with my bosses at work. They've turned out to be more flexible than I knew, but weren't going to come forth with compromise until I spoke up. Yesterday, I negotiated to start work one hour earlier each day (at home on my lap top) and finish early. Plus, my new contract includes a work at home once weekly option. That option was put forth by me, uncontested. All I needed to do was present an organised case with reasons, and deliver it coherently and reasonably - and voila - they're bending over back wards to accommodate.
Also, I'm not overly harsh on myself if things don't go to plan. Some weeks tick along in blissful order, and others are just a mish-mash from start to finish. Accept the losses and celebrate the wins. Single parenthood is a tough gig, so be kind on yourself and just do the best you can.
Edited by 808state, 21 February 2013 - 04:54 AM.